Lucas Fox Triples Presence in Valencia to meet Demand from International Clients

31 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Lucas Fox has multiplied its network in Valencia by three. The real estate agency has opened the doors of its third office in the regional capital. Located in the Ciutat Vella neighbourhood, the company’s newest branch is located at number 42 Calle del Mar.

The objective of the multinational firm with this opening is to be closer to vendor clients to increase its portfolio in Ciutat Vella, in order to respond to demand from international clients in pursuit of the Spanish sun.

Currently, Lucas Fox’s delegation in Valencia employs a team of twenty professionals, including five architects. In 2017, the real estate firm launched a portal for prime transactions as one of the new drivers of its growth. It is also considering expanding into other regions of Spain, including Madrid.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Project Inés: Deutsche Finalises Purchase Of Sareb’s €400M Portfolio

17 October 2017 – Voz Pópuli

Sareb is at a critical point in one of its most important transactions of the year. The bad bank is negotiating with Deutsche Bank regarding the sale of the largest portfolio it has brought onto the market in the last 12 months. The portfolio in question is Project Inés and it was initially worth €500 million, but its final perimeter will amount to €400 million, according to financial sources consulted by Voz Pópuli. Oaktree and Bank of America also participated in the bid until the final round, but their offers were lower than Deutsche Bank’s bid. Sources at Sareb declined to comment.

Those three international investors were the final candidates after dozens of other funds interested in the operation fell by the wayside. One of the last candidates to be ruled out was KKR.

The portfolio comprises unpaid loans secured by residential assets in Madrid, Cataluña, Andalucía and Zaragoza. The inclusion of assets in Cataluña, despite everything that is currently happening in that autonomous region, caused many of the funds to hesitate and deduct value from their bids, according to the financial sources consulted by this newspaper.

These types of operations are key for Sareb to accelerate the rate of asset sales, given that it has been given the mandate of divesting €50,000 million of problem assets within 15 years; that period started at the end of 2012. The latest figures show that the cumulative divestment to the end of 2016 amounted to almost €10,000 million, leaving a balance of €40,134 million on the books.

Other operations

Project Inés is not the only operation that Sareb has underway. It has also put a portfolio worth €400 million on the market through an online platform for funds. On the portal, investors can bid for loans on an individual basis (Project Dubai), like they did with Haya Real Estate last year.

Moreover, it has just put another portfolio, known as Project Tambo, on the market through CBRE. That portfolio contains non-performing loans to property developers, worth €300 million.

Sareb normally accumulates lots of operations of this kind at the end of the year. In 2016, it sold seven portfolios after the summer, for a total combined value of almost €1,300 million. The largest portfolio was Project Eloise, which was awarded to Goldman Sachs.

Deutsche Bank and Bank of America are two regulars in these types of operations. In fact, the German bank already acquired two small portfolios from Sareb at the end of last year, known as Project Sevilla and Project Marina, for a combined total of €160 million.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ibercaja Puts 1,000 Discounted Properties Up For Sale

30 January 2017 – Expansión

The real estate portal Casaktua has launched a commercial campaign to sell a portfolio of almost 1,000 properties owned by Ibercaja with average discounts of 10%. By autonomous region, most of the assets are located in Aragón, La Rioja, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, the Community of Valencia and Cataluña, which is where Ibercaja has the greatest presence.

By type of property, the portfolio includes homes with between one and four bedrooms, which have an average surface area of 160 m2 and an average price of €64,000, having decreased from €67,200.

In terms of the non-residential assets, the portfolio contains a wide range of garages, retail premises, warehouses and storerooms.

Casaktua and Ibercaja have launched promotions on other occasions. At the end of last year, they put 1,300 homes on the market.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fotocasa’s Owner, Schibsted Spain, Buys Habitaclia

17 January 2017 – Inmodiario

On Monday, Schibsted Spain announced its acquisition of the real estate portal Habitaclia. In this way, Schibsted Spain, owner of other portals including Fotocasa, has strengthened its leadership position in the real estate classified adverts sector.

“Habitaclia is a well-known real estate portal in the Mediterranean area. The portal has managed to grow in an extraordinary way in a highly competitive environment, basing its success on a detailed understanding of the needs of users and advertisers. Habitaclia is a great company and we are really happy that it has joined the Schibsted Spain family” said Frode Nordseth, CEO of the company.

Following this latest acquisition, Schibsted will offer its users more than 1,500,000 properties to buy and rent each month, from more than 15,000 estate agents and individuals. Moreover, the acquisition will allow advertisers to reach a larger audience in a simpler way.

Schibsted Spain owns a group of portals that receive more than 180 million visits per month, of which 35 million relate to the real estate sector. As a result of the purchase of Habitaclia, the group’s traffic will increase by more than 15%.

Habitaclia will operate as an independent brand within the Schibsted Spain group, retaining its offices and incorporating its more than 80 employees into Schibsted’s workforce. Fotocasa and Habitaclia will continue to operate independently, although certain processes will be established to enable both brands to learn from the strengths of the other.

“We are very happy to be joining the Schibsted family. Schibsted Spain has extensive experience and knowledge about the management of classified advert portals across multiple sectors. We are certain that Habitaclia will be able to benefit from this experience to offer greater value”, explained Javier Llanas, CEO at Habitaclia.

Habitaclia’s turnover amounted to €6.8M during the first three quarters of 2016, which represents an increase of 36% compared to the previous year. The firm has an EBITDA margin of more than 30% in its main region of operation (Cataluña, Balearic Islands and Andorra). This acquisition will increase Schibsted Spain’s total turnover by 8%, resulting in combined revenues of more than €88 million during the first three quarters of 2016.

Besides fotocasa, Schibsted also owns InfoJobs,, Vibbo and Milanuncios.

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Italian RE Portal Immobiliare Acquires Catalan Firm Enalquiler

6 July 2016 – Expansión

The Italian portal has completed the purchase of almost 100% of Enalquiler, its Catalan counterpart, from Grupo Intercom, its majority shareholder. Both digital companies are portals specialising in rental housing.

Created ten years ago by Grupo Intercom – itself chaired by Antonio González Barros – Enalquiler employs around 75 people at its headquarters in the centre of Barcelona and at an office in Madrid; it recorded turnover of around €3 million in 2015.

With a catalogue of more than 100,000 homes in Spain, Enalquiler already has a presence in the Italian market, with another 100,000 properties that it manages under the brand, as well as in Mexico, where it operates through the portal

The corporate transaction represents Grupo Intercom’s seventeenth such sale; last year it sold to the US portal WeddingWire.

New player in Spain

The acquisition of Enalquiler, the price of which has not been disclosed, represents the entry of into Spain, where it will compete with Fotocasa, Idealista and Hablitaclia, amongst other online platforms.

Regarded as the leading real estate portal in Italy, was created in Milan in 2005 by the entrepreneur Silvio Pagliani and other partners. In June, the portal, which is led by Carlo Giordano, invested €1.5 million in, an employment platform for freelancers.

“For Enalquiler, this means it can continue to grow alongside a strategic partner who has complete confidence in us”, said Julio Vasco, founder and President of Enalquiler.

The Catalan company will continue to use the Enalquiler and Mioaffito names: “both brands are recognised in the Spanish and Italian markets; there are no plans to change them”, said Vasco.

Immobiliare has taken control of the majority of Enalquiler, and the firm’s management team retains a small stake. “The rental market has certain needs that are not being covered effectively by the existing portals”, concluded Vasco.

Original story: Expansión (by T. Díaz and J. Orihuel)

Translation: Carmel Drake Buyers Offer 23% Below The Asking Price

27 January 2016 – Cinco Días

Data is regularly being published about the rise in the number of house sales, how the fall in property prices is being mitigated, the gradual return of credit to the market and the impact of the overall economic recovery as the driver behind the real estate market overcoming the crisis. Nevertheless, the online portal has gone a step further by cross-checking information about the prices that purchasers are willing to pay and the asking prices being set by vendors; and they are checking the differences between them (…).

In its study, which is based on figures from 2015, the real estate portal notes that the differences between asking prices and offer prices have decreased in line with the improvement in the labour market (as soon as job destruction came to a halt, house sales began their timid recovery) and the relaxation of conditions to access finance.

This alignment of positions has been made possible thanks to the fact that house prices now seem to have bottomed out, at least in the majority of regions, “and buyers’ budgets have increased, thanked to increased savings and the return of credit to the market”, explain sources at

In this way, during 2015, the average house price in Spain amounted to €138,150, whilst the most sought-after home (by buyers) cost €112,500 on average and had a surface area of 90 m2. The portal understands that the difference between these amounts, i.e. €25,650, represents the difference that currently separates demand and supply, which is equivalent to 23% of the most sought-after price. has been performing this cross-check of supply and demand since 2009 and in its study, it shows how the relationship has evolved during the crisis and the start of the recovery. In 2009, the difference amounted to 55%, which is explained to a large extent by the sharp decline in the number of house sales; the transactions that did materialise were accounted for with a sizeable discrepancy.

Since then, the positions have moved towards each other to narrow at 20% in 2013. Nevertheless, in 2014, they increased again, to 25% and then last year, that gap moderated slightly to the aforementioned 23%. The evolution varies by region, which is to be expected in the housing market. (…).

Starting prices

Prices in six autonomous regions increased, namely: Andalucía, Aragón, the Balearic Islands, Galicia, Navarra and País Vasco. The highest average asking price is still found in País Vasco, at €232,500. At the other end of the spectrum, citizens in Murcia, Valencia, Castilla-La Mancha and the Canary Islands searched for homes with a average price of €67,500. Navarra is the only autonomous region where the price that buyers are willing to pay exceeded the asking price. The autonomous regions in which asking and offer prices were the closest were: Cantabria (9%), País Vasco (9%) and Cataluña (12%). By contrast, the largest differences were found in Murcia (where the difference still amounts to 39%), Asturias (37%) and La Rioja (36%).

In terms of other variables in the market, such as the number of transactions and the evolution of prices, the General Council of Notaries published its study yesterday, which showed that (house) sales grew by 14.7% YoY in Q3 2015, following their significant growth in the previous quarter (16.8% YoY). Moreover, the notaries highlighted that all of the autonomous regions, with the exception of Navarra, contributed to this result. (…). Meanwhile, prices grew by 2.7% YoY during the same period, just below the rate of growth seen in the previous quarter (3.6%). (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro)

Translation: Carmel Drake